Sunday, January 31, 2016

Social systems for the Cyberspace; the social media

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In the last blog I wrote about the open society models of wikis, especially the wikipedia. The policies and guidelines are instrumental to develop and maintain the virtual society on wikipedia. In this blog, I would like to write about the Cyberspace societies being nurtured by the social networking websites, or Social Media, as we call them together nowadays. 
The social media includes blogs, business networks, enterprise social networks, forums, microblogs, photo sharing, products/services review, social bookmarking, social gaming, social networks, video sharing and more. As per a wikipedia article 'A social networking service (also social networking site or SNS) is a platform to build social networks or social relations among people who share similar interests, activities, backgrounds or real-life connections'. Early social networking on the World Wide Web began in the form of generalized online communities such as (1995), Geocities (1994) and (1995). Many of these early communities focused on bringing people together to interact with each other through chat rooms, and encouraged users to share personal information and ideas via personal webpages by providing easy-to-use publishing tools and free or inexpensive webspace.

There are more than two hundred prominent social networking sites on the web. Roughly all these sites together has 7.5 billion members (7543202609). It is almost equal to the world population! Of course, the members are not unique for every site. From this world population equivalent figure, it is very vivid that individuals have memberships in multiple networking sites. In the same site also, some individuals may be maintaining multiple accounts. Even after considering all the above possibilities of number duplication, the remaining number will be huge, there is no doubt about it. Even the duplication of accounts can also be taken as an indicator for enhanced involvement of individuals in the Cyberspace activities. In short, it is a strong indication of people start to live more in the Cyberspace every day. Active involvement of the the same individuals in multiple sites can be taken as an even stronger indication similar to individuals live and work in their family and friends' circles, groups of colleagues and larger societies of various nature around them for diverse purposes.

The range of activities happening in the Cyberspace through this social networking sites also amazingly large and diverse enough to compete with the real life activities. Starting from sharing of personal pleasures and worries to mobilizing people for huge social movements, from marketing to corporate business discussions, form layman's sharing of political opinions to consolidation of political powers by world leaders, from sharing of learning information to virtual class-rooms, everything you can imagine definitely happens in the social networks.

Each social network is a society in the Cyberspace. Each such society is governed by different policies of the site facilitators as well as the governments that regulate such sites, starting from the membership policy. In some cases, the individual members also have a say in developing and managing such policies, though not as open as in the case of Wikipedia. Gradually and steady these policies together build the structural design, living spaces and social systems of an evolving Cyberspace. Now it is high time that we look into these policies very seriously and and participate in the development and implementation of such policies with a long term vision, as people involve and facilitate the development of civilizations in the real world. Because, the Imanofutu like scenario wherein people started to live their real life in the Cyberspace almost completely towards the last part of the twenty first century, need not necessarily continue as just a fiction for long.


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